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Interview: Phil Ramone (Part 3)



Recording engineer and producer Phil Ramone had three things going for him when he set up A&R Recording in 1959. First, he was a trained classical musician who could hear what most of his peers could not. Second, he was passionate about making records that sounded more vivid and dynamic than everything else on the market. And third, he was fortunate to have come in contact with the right people at just the right time—notably Atlantic's recording engineer Tom Dowd and producers Quincy Jones and Creed Taylor. [Photo by Dave Allocca]

Interview: Phil Ramone (Part 2)


Smaller_Cropped_Phil_RamoneBack in the late 1950s, New York was peppered with recording  studios. Most were on the West Side of Manhattan, between 39th and 58th streets—within striking distance of the Brill Building on Broadway, the television networks on Sixth Ave. and record distributors on 8th and 9th avenues. When Phil Ramone began his career as a recording engineer, he learned the ropes at JAC Recording, which was in the heart of what was still the city's nightclub and entertainer-hangout district.

Interview: Phil Ramone (Part 1)


Phil Ramone has won 14 Grammy Awards as a producer. Known for his warm sound and intimate recording clarity, Phil engineered or produced dozens of jazz, pop and Broadway classics, including Ray Charles' Genius + Soul = Jazz, Leslie Gore's It's My Party, Stan Getz's Getz/Gilberto, Paul McCartney's Ram and Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years. He recently completed producing Paul Simon's So Beautiful Or So What, the guitarist's new bluegrass-influenced album due for release in early 2011.

Interview: Fats Domino (Part 2)


ImagesLike a parent playing favorites, New Orleans dotes too heavily on its jazz heritage. I know this sounds like heresy, but it's true. The airport is named for Louis Armstrong, there's a 150-foot trompe-l'oeil mural of a clarinet running up the side of a Holiday Inn, and you don't have to look too hard for the Dixieland sound. All of which is wonderful and good for jazz. The problem is jazz isn't the only form of music that was born in the city. Rock 'n' roll began there, too. Yet the city has done little to preserve rock's history there or turned notable rock sites into thriving tourist attractions.

Interview: Fats Domino (Part 1)


Picture 2aLast Wednesday I was in New Orleans for the Wall Street Journal to interview Fats Domino. You'll find my conversation with rock's creator on the "Leisure & Arts" page of today's Personal Journal section. Or go here. The interview was something of a coup, since the early rocker rarely grants interviews. I can tell you that those close to Fats, including his loving family, are wonderful, loving, soulful people who are rightly proud of their city and their most famous and beloved living artist. [Pictured: Fats tapping out his famed beat on the back of my hand. Photo by Haydee Ellis]

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